The Big Ten is shaping up to be an elite league next season and while the league lost plenty of talent to graduation and the NBA, an infusion of McDonald’s All-Americans and transfers will ease the loss of stars like Frank Kaminsky and D’Angelo Russell.
In no particular order, here’s a look at the five newcomers we expect to make the biggest impact on next season’s conference race:
· Eron Harris, Michigan State: The Indianapolis native flew under the radar for much of his prep career at Lawrence North, but a strong summer in 2011 landed him interest from West Virginia and he signed with the Mountaineers. After a pair of seasons in Morgantown, including 2013-2014 where he averaged 17.2 points per game, Harris opted to transfer to Michigan State.
Welcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2015-2016 Indiana Hoosiers. First up, a detailed look at rising junior Troy Williams — his game, his numbers, his future and the possibility of another big leap as a junior.
If the title here looks familiar, it’s because a post with a similar title was penned last June. At the time, Williams was coming off a freshman season with mixed results, but there was plenty of optimism for what he might become in his second collegiate season.
A year later, Williams appears on the cusp of a breakout after a sophomore season full of improvements. At the recent Nike Skills Academy, Williams was already being discussed as a player who could find himself with a guaranteed NBA contract a season from now.
But there’s still plenty of room for growth for a player who has the talent to land in the first round of next June’s NBA draft. In fact, according to Williams’ uncle, Boo Williams, there were teams willing to consider him in the first round of this year’s draft, but that wasn’t assurance enough to convince him it was time to go.
It’s late June, recruiting won’t heat up until a couple of weeks into July and thus, there’s finally some time to dig into one of the list ideas we’ve been kicking around in recent weeks for offseason content.
As we enter season eight of Tom Crean’s time in Bloomington, it’s time for our ranking of the top 10 players to play for the Hoosiers in his tenure:
10. James Blackmon Jr. (2014-present)
It will interesting to see where Blackmon Jr. ultimately ends up if this list is reexamined when his career is over. But as it stands, it’s hard to warrant placing him higher given that he’s played just one season. Still, Blackmon Jr. accomplished a lot offensively in his first season. He ranked sixth in the country among all freshman in scoring at 15.7 points per game and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. He also set the freshman record for 3-pointers made in a season (77), breaking a mark set by Eric Gordon. If Blackmon Jr. continues the scoring pace he exhibited as a freshman and stays until he’s a junior, he’s going to go down as one of the better backcourt scorers to ever play for the Hoosiers.
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s three incoming freshmen where we take an in-depth look at all three newcomers. Today the series concludes with a look at O.G. Anunoby. (Previously: Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan)
Thomas Bryant comes to Bloomington as the prize of Indiana’s 2015 recruiting class and with accolades like being a McDonald’s All-American and a Jordan Brand All-Star. Juwan Morgan built a national profile last year as he won the most improved player award on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.
IU’s third incoming scholarship freshman, O.G. Anunoby, doesn’t have a top 100 ranking like Bryant or Morgan, but was a late riser whom the Hoosiers hope will develop into a rotation stalwart in the years to come.
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s three incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all three newcomers. Today: Juwan Morgan. (Previously: Thomas Bryant)
It didn’t take long for Waynesville, Missouri coach Chris Pilz to realize he might have a high level Division I player in his program back in the 2011-2012 season.
It was the first year at Waynesville for Pilz and he got to know Juwan Morgan quickly after he wrapped up his football season as a freshman. Once Morgan’s football responsibilities were finished, he started working out with the basketball team. Pilz wanted Morgan to play for the junior varsity. But Morgan told Pilz he would prefer to start out playing freshman ball.
“I told him I was new, he was new, so that would be fine,” Pilz recalls with a laugh. “About a week later he started playing JV. I’d had the opportunity to coach some other Division I players that had played at a major level and shortly after working with him, I told him he had the opportunity to be a major Division I player if that’s what he wanted to do.”
Morgan confirmed to Pilz that’s exactly what he wanted to do and his ascent in the Waynesville program began.
The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.
@ItSjEnKiNs on Twitter writes: Any word on other strong non-conference match ups this year? Anymore info on Louisville or Kentucky talk?
I think the highlights of next season’s non-conference schedule are out there: at Duke, Creighton, Notre Dame and Maui. As for Louisville, Fred Glass was pretty clear recently that it’s not going to happen next season and he also shot down the possibility of a game with Kentucky next season. You can watch what Glass had to say about those topics after the jump:
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s three incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all three newcomers. Today: Thomas Bryant.
When Thomas Bryant takes the floor at Assembly Hall next winter for Indiana, he’ll be the third McDonald’s All-American big man in four seasons to do so for the Hoosiers, joining Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh.
One of the most crucial recruits for Tom Crean in his seven year tenure in Bloomington, Indiana beat out the likes of Syracuse, Kentucky and Missouri to land Bryant, a native of Rochester, New York. The 6-foot-10 big man was a well known commodity nationally by the end of his decorated prep career that started at Bishop Kearney in Rochester and wrapped up over the final seasons at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.
The accolades Bryant finished his high school career with were plentiful. In addition to his selection to the McDonald’s All-American game, he was also a Jordan Brand All-Star. As a sophomore at Bishop Kearney, he helped lead his school to a Class AA state championship.